Strobs key to unlocking oilseed rape yield potential

Article taken from the Agronomist & Arable Farmer

Prudent use of oilseed rape fungicides that exhibit physiological benefits as well as control of yield-robbing diseases such as sclerotinia, light leaf spot and verticilium must be a prerequisite to maximising gross margins this year, says Agrovista agronomist Graham Edwards.

In the autumn he applied Frelizon, which has given excellent control of phoma and light leaf spot.  But autumn fungicides have now run out of steam and crops might need a second application for light leaf spot.

“ADAS warnings have already been released for light leaf spot this spring with current weather conditions lending themselves to this becoming another high threat year,” says Mr Edwards.

“For sclerotinia control growers must adopt a minimum of a two-spray programme that provides cover for the whole of the flowering period.  Galileo (picoxystrobin) is the first spray at early flowering, which is the foundation of the programme, followed by a second spray two to three weeks later with a fungicide such as Recital (fluopyram + prothioconazole).  This approach will cover us for diseases such as alternaria and botrytis.

“In a similar vein to the physiological benefits experienced from using strob chemistry in wheat, picoxystrobin has a similar effect on oilseed rape.  Keeping the crop greener for longer adds valuable yield, which can be as high as 0.9t/ha, but importantly providing up to 75% sclerotinia control as well,” says Mr Edwards.

The price of oilseed rape has dropped considerably this year, but if it is in the ground and has good potential it is going to need protection.

“Yields of 5t/ha are not unrealistic provided there is an appropriate level of crop management,” says Mr Edwards.  “Oilseed rape is not a cheap crop to grow, however, and with some crops requiring multiple fungicide sprays a season inputs must be managed appropriately.  With all inputs under scrutiny the one not to cut out is the Galileo spray because in the absence of disease it more than pays for itself,” says Mr Edwards.  “This claim is backed by DuPont, Agrovista and independent trails.”

Galileo encourages better nitrogen uptake by increasing the plants’ ability to scavenge; it provides early control of sclerotinia and light leaf spot; and extra greening to utilise nitrogen.

Sclerotinia is one disease which Mr Edwards says is very much on his radar – increasingly so – with tighter rotations and overwinters trash harbouring inoculum has seen the disease appear in all major oilseed rape growing areas.  Sclerotinia can take out al least 30% yield if sprays are badly timed or ignored.

“Sclerotinia is so massively damaging and for the relatively small cost to keep on top of it with a strobilurin fungicide such as Galileo, it’s a no brainer,” he explains.


14 April 2015

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